10 Ways To Avoid Aging Before Your Time
Looking to ward off lines and wrinkles for as long as possible? Unfortunately, you can’t turn back time or stop the natural aging process, but a few lifestyle changes can make a whole world of difference.
Skin aging is a fact of life – and in all honestly, you should feel privileged to have all those years of wisdom under your belt. But natural aging (known in the biz as intrinsic aging) is OK, right? Because, unless you’re some kind of Hermione Granger, this is inevitable and all down to your genes and your body’s natural ability to heal and repair itself as you get older. Extrinsic aging, on the other hand, now that’s a whole different story…
Extrinsic aging is the term for anything that affects how your skin ages, other than your genetic clock. Smoking, sun worshipping, boozing, you know the drill. And it’s all this perfectly preventable stuff you need to work on if you want to maintain youthful-looking skin for as long as possible.
Here are ten easy lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent your skin aging up way before it should.
1. Don’t Over-Cleanse
Cleansing your skin is super-important, for sure, but if you scrub your face morning and night with products that contain harsh ingredients like sulfates, you’ll strip away all those good oils. You could also compromise your skin’s natural barrier function, causing dryness, irritation and all manner of other complaints that will accelerate skin aging. Instead, be kind as you cleanse, choosing products that balance and hydrate your skin, rather than leaving it high and dry.
If you’re in the market for a gentle, yet effective cleanser, our Vitamin C Daily Facial Cleanser is perfect for the job. It also contains 15 percent vitamin C for added age-busting, antioxidant powers.
2. Buy A Humidifier
Living in a home that’s void of moisture is a terrible idea for your skin. How so? Because science. More to the point, dry air (particularly in winter) will suck every last drop of moisture from your skin. To counteract the effects of cranking up the heating or air conditioning, invest in a humidifier for your bedroom and/or home office – these are the rooms you spend most of your time in, after all.
Can’t afford a humidifier right now? Just place a bowl of water in your room to help add moisture back into the air.
3. Practice A Little Facial Yoga
Working out your face is a great way to improve circulation, build tone and help reduce sagging skin or unwanted expression lines. It’s also free and can be easily done while you’re at your desk, making dinner or watching TV.
Some of our favorite exercises include: puffing out your cheeks repeatedly; looking towards the ceiling and pouting for a few seconds; or opening your mouth super-wide, sticking your tongue out and roaring like a lion. Repeat each of these, five times a day and you’ll start to notice a real difference in the clarity and firmness of your skin.
4. Wear SPF Every Day
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the sun plays a major role in the way and speed in which your skin prematurely ages. And we have to agree, the sun is a complete disaster area. The problem is UV radiation – specifically UVA and UVB radiation. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin where they cause free radical damage and break down collagen and elastin. Meanwhile, UVB rays are responsible for tanning and burning which is just as bad for both your skin and your overall health – two words: skin cancer.
Stay out of the midday sun, for sure, and protect your skin whenever you spend time outdoors. We always recommend applying a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ to exposed areas, including your hands.
5. Eat A Healthy Diet
While anything in moderation is OK, a diet that’s super high in the likes of sugar, salt, processed meats, bad fats and refined carbs will be pretty rough on your complexion. Sugar and refined carbs, for example, attach themselves to proteins in your skin in a process called glycation which damages valuable collagen and can result in any number of aging concerns like wrinkles, dark circles, enlarged pores, the works. Meanwhile, an overload of salt draws water from your skin, making it more prone to dryness, dehydration and everything that goes with it.
Make sure you don’t overdo the bad stuff, while upping your intake of antioxidant-rich, collagen-preserving fruit and veggies. Avocados, broccoli, red bell peppers, watercress, blueberries and pomegranates all have powerful anti-aging properties. Also, don’t forget your omega 3 fatty acids – found in nuts and oily fish – to help keep your skin soft, supple and plump.
6. Never Forget To Moisturize
Just like gentle cleansing and sun protection, moisturizing your skin is one step in your routine that should never be dismissed. Yes, even if you have oily skin. Water (especially hot water) strips your skin of its natural oils, so always apply a lotion or cream after washing to reduce dryness.
Look for moisturizers that contain a clever combination of humectants (these draw water to the skin) and emollients (which lock it in) for the best results. We love our Vitamin C Daily Facial Moisturizer which contains jojoba oil, glycerin, shea butter and vitamin E, so it literally checks all those boxes. And more.
7. Quit Smoking
Do we seriously need to go here? OK, well if you are a smoker and the damage it can cause to your health isn't enough to make you stop, hopefully this will.
“The more cigarettes you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more likely you are to develop wrinkles and other age-associated changes to your face,” explain experts at the Mayo Clinic.
Tobacco affects the elasticity, texture, tone and even the color of your skin. It also impairs healing and may worsen conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
8. Turn Your Frown Upside Down
Frowning contracts the underlying muscles on your forehead, so if you frown repeatedly it’ll cause annoying lines beneath your brows (AKA ‘elevens’) to become prematurely etched in.
To reduce your chances of getting frown lines early in life, wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside to stop you from squinting. And if you find yourself frowning or squinting when you read, type or watch TV, it could be time for an eye test. Just saying.
9. Sleep. Lots.
Insufficient or poor sleep is one of the biggest beauty no-nos because overnight is when collagen production peaks to help heal, restore and repair your skin. The National Sleep Foundation recommends between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. So, come on y’all, Netflix will still be there tomorrow.
For some quality zzzs, make sure your bedroom isn’t too hot or cold, never eat a big meal before bed and… Put. Your. Smartphone. Down. The National Sleep Foundation also recommends using essential oils like lavender to help calm your mind and ease you into a good night’s sleep. Oh, and try not to sleep with your face smushed into the pillow night after night as this can exacerbate crease lines. And they might not spring back like they used to ten years ago.
10. Apply A Nightly Retinol
Last but not least, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to embrace the mightiest of anti-aging skincare ingredients, retinol.
Retinol has an almost magical way of ‘communicating’ with your skin cells to make them produce more collagen and turn over more efficiently. This is excellent news for your skin because more collagen equals younger, firmer, plumper skin, while efficient cell turnover results in more radiance, healthier pores and fewer issues with pigmentation. This might sound too good to be true, but derms, beauty editors and every other skin expert you can think of swear by the powers of retinol (and its prescription-only cousin, tretinoin).
Retinol is a potent ingredient however, so you should always perform a patch test first, before slowly introducing it into your routine.
Just one last thing before we go. Remember, we don’t expect you to make every single one of these changes immediately (we’re not complete savages). But a little tweak here and there will make a whole world of difference. That is all.
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.